Home Travel Tips Six Ways to Save Money on Your Next AirBNB

Six Ways to Save Money on Your Next AirBNB

by Erin Nielsen
AirBNB in Vermont

Use these tips to help save on your next AirBNB booking. Stock photo by Andrea Davis via Unsplash.

Long gone are the days of only choosing between a hotel or scrambling to find a friend’s couch to crash on for your vacation. Instead, with a quick Google search or the touch of an app, you can find a place with the privacy and feel of a home away from home. There are many sites to choose from, but it’s safe to say no platform has more prominently dominated the booking world in recent years like Airbnb.

Airbnb bookings can be a great way for travelers to find a more affordable stay while also enjoying a unique house or apartment that feels a little more like home rather than a cookie-cutter hotel. It gives travelers a chance to immerse themselves in a city or neighborhood by living like a local.

Yes, there are some horror stories out there of awful hosts who make absurd cleaning requests or the frustration of thinking you’re getting a steal of a place for $100 a night, only to discover at checkout that there is a $300 “cleaning and hosting fee.” Fortunately, there are safe and surefire ways to navigate the booking process to ensure you are getting the best deal and diggings for your budget and vision.

Here are six tips to make help you save money on your next Airbnb booking.

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Please note that as of November 2022, Airbnb announced that, in their 2022 Winter Release, the site will now display the total upfront fee for a night of a listing so there are no surprises when it comes time to whip out your credit card.

Book Your Airbnb in Advance… or Last Minute

This tip may seem obvious for most travelers but timing your Airbnb bookings can make a big difference in the cost of your trip. Start looking as soon as your trip is decided or even if you’re on the fence. Chances are you might find a deal that will help settle the debate in your mind about taking this trip in the first place!

By getting a jump start on the hunt for lodgings, you’ll have a higher chance of finding the right place for your needs, as well as a decent price. You may also be able to snag an Early Bird deal (look for the tag when viewing the pricing for the listing). Be especially prompt in searching if you are booking around a holiday or special event. You never know how fast a city might book up if people are coming from far and wide for a college rivalry game or music festival!

A risky but sometimes frugal alternative is to book your Airbnb right before your trip, and we’re talking even the day before. Some hosts will drop their prices by as low as 40 or even 50 percent off the original listing price to fill up the gaps between guest stays. You likely will not have a large variety of spaces to choose from, but you may just save yourself a little money for the rest of your trip.

Book a Longer Trip to Save Money on Your Airbnb

Some Airbnb hosts will offer discounts to guests who stay for at least a week or more, so a booking seven nights instead of six could end up being a better deal for you! Not every host offers this deal, but it’s worth considering an additional night to your trip to get you that weekly or monthly discount (plus give you another day or two of fun on your trip). If you can swing it, try to stay flexible with your dates to find the best deals.

When searching for an ideal Airbnb listing using exact dates, opt to use the flex buttons to spread your search out over days surrounding your preferred times. This will help good finds not previously in your search appear as potential stays and increase your chance of saving money.

An even better way to save money is to use the “I’m flexible” option when searching for a booking. Just select if you’re looking for a weekend, a week, or even a month, then take the time to sit back and browse through the variety of listings that come your way. You may just stumble across a hidden gem that you and your travel companions will love that wasn’t on your radar!

Be Flexible with Your Airbnb Filters When Booking

Just as being flexible with your dates increases your changes of scoring a better deal, staying open to other filters in your search, such as the type of accommodation, amenities, and location, will help you find a deal you otherwise normally wouldn’t find. You may have your heart set on a stylish apartment with a view in Midtown Manhattan for your weekend getaway, but maybe you’ll get a place for half the price and closer to a subway station in the Upper West Side.

Can you live without having washer and dryer in your unit? Or do you really need a pool at your place if you’re staying in a beach house? It’s ok to include amenities such as these in your original search, but a little compromise might be your ticket to a better deal if you are struggling to find the right booking for your budget.

Flexibility might also mean considering the number of travelers joining you on your time away. Inviting another friend along to sleep on the pull-out couch could mean splitting the cost one more way, saving everyone money in the process.

Read the Reviews When Booking an Airbnb

One of the best resources you can use to make sure you are getting a good deal is to read the reviews and check the ratings. Airbnb strongly encourages guests to rate their experience, so it is quite common to find open and honest reviews about a listing. By knowing what you are getting into, you will know if that quaint cabin by the waterfall you’ve been eyeing is worth your dollars or if it’s a better deal to get the yurt with close access to hiking trails.

Airbnb has a 5-star rating system that allows former guests to review cleanliness, communication between guests and hosts, ease of check-in, listing accuracy, location, and overall value. According to former Airbnb employees, any spot with an overall rating below 4.7 is in the bottom fifty percent of all listings, so check to see how the one you’ve been eyeing measures up. Perhaps you feel like you’re saving money by looking at just the cheapest deals, but you don’t want to get stuck in an apartment with mouse dropping just to save a few bucks a night.

Although Airbnb has begun cracking down on hosts with ridiculous demands, you may still find a review may save you from a potential nightmare with a host. It’s reasonable to ask a guest to not leave food out when you leave or to put the keys back in the lockbox on your way out, but requiring you to wash all your bedding and towels doesn’t exactly sound like a vacation. Be a polite and generous guest, but don’t be deceived by thinking you are saving money by taking on extra chores that should be the responsibility of the host.

Scrutinize New Airbnb Listings

A new Airbnb listing might be a good way to find a money-saving deal since hosts are eager to get guests booked. However, new spots can be tricky to judge since there are no reviews and ratings to go by. There should be no need to panic or automatically assume a scam, but it helps to look for a few key indicators.

How does the new host’s profile look? Did they bother to upload a decent picture or write a little description about themselves? Dedicated hosts, even new ones, will take the time to present themselves professionally and put their guests at ease about any new listing. Some new listings come from hosts who rent out other units or homes, so you may find some luck seeing how these hosts operate by reading reviews of their other listings.

Look for good quality photos of the listing. Transparency is key with any booking, but especially new ones! Make sure you get a good feel of the place. If you happen to be in the area beforehand, you can even ask the host if you might be able to come take a quick peek at the place.

Chat with Your Airbnb Host Before Booking – and Ask for Discount!

At this point, you have probably noticed that hosts are a common denominator to scoring a good deal. Many an Airbnb guest have found success by simply politely reaching out to a host to check if discounts are available, especially if the booking is close to the time of travel. Hosts want to fill their accommodations so they may be willing to slash the price to lock in a traveler like yourself. A guaranteed discounted stay is more appealing to a host than empty lodgings, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Doing the research on your booking may sound like one more burdensome step before you hit the road, but it can pay off in the end. Airbnb will not always be your cheapest option everywhere you travel, but once you know what to look for and how to navigate your way in the booking world, you are bound to lock in a fair price in a unique stay for you and your travel companions to remember for years to come.

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